There are many places that you can find free stock images online but it is crucial that you pay close attention to the rules. In this blog post, I am going to share several resources with you and a few tips on picking the right images for your blog.
These images are free to use but when possible, they would like for you to credit the photographer. However, it is critical that you still read the rules for each image that you click on. Also, go ahead and check out their about page and read thru it quickly.
Below is a snippet of the rules from Wiki Commons about the images. As you can see, it is important to pay attention to the specific rules for each image.
licenses may be reused without any need to contact the licensor(s), but just keep in mind that:
- some licenses require that the original creator be attributed;
- some licenses require that the specific license be identified when reusing (including, in some cases, stating or linking to the terms of the license);
- some licenses require that if you modify the work, your modifications must also be similarly freely licensed; and finally,
While I tend to purchase most of my images, I do find quite a few on this site. They are upfront about the freedom to use their images at the top of their site:
Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task - due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality. This inspired us to create Pixabay - a repository for stunning public domain pictures. ~Pixaby.com
I have been using and recommending this site for many years but their selection is quite limited. Also, the images are not very large so they are generally not all that great for featured images. But if you are looking for in post or in page images and don't have a budget for images, these guys are great.
Note: You do have to give credit to Free Digital Photos and the photographer.
Flickr is home to some of the most beautiful images on the internet and you just never know what you are going to find. The key to using images from Flickr is to read the rights and the rules. Each person that puts something on Flickr has different rules.
Make sure that you click on copyright rules and read them. Sometimes the rules may be simple or so complicated that you just don't want to deal with it.
This little site offers an interesting array of images. Most of these are not the super sharp images that you would find at ShutterStock or such places but they are real. These are real photos taken by average people who just like to take photos. If you are wanting something with a bit more of a human touch, then this may be the place for your. Their library is not massive but it is interesting.
Tips on picking the right image
Quality of the image.
A pixelated image just makes you and your site look bad. It sends a subconscious message to your readers that you don't take your blog seriously. That is the last thing that you want because then they will think that you don't care about them.
Color or black and white?
Sometimes a black and white is extremely power and helps you tell your story. So go ahead and decide what style of image you want to use on your blog and subsequently on your blog post.
Is it the right shape?
The image shape can turn out to be more of a killer issue than you could ever imagine. Most of the time featured images on a blog need to be rectangles but not always. It really depends on your blog design. Make sure that you are aware of your blog design requirements and what works best. Just keep this is mind because when you are resizing an image, it is difficult to resize an square into a rectangle and vice versa.
Do you have the right to use it?
As I am sure that you got from reading above, the answer to this question can be tricky. However, just keep in mind one simple rule. If you are not sure what the user license is on an image, just don't use it.
Do you have the right to use it?
Sometimes by the time that we get around to picking an image, we are exhausted from all of that writing and editing. At that point we just want to pick the first image and move on but don't fall into that temptation. Your image can either confuse your audience or inspire them. Spend some time on this important element. I promise you that it is worth it.
Is the image going to make your blog look dated?
One of the issues with free images is that they tend to be old. If you are trying to appear fresh and hip to new ideas, then you don't want an old style cell phone in the image. Keep in mind the time period and how that relates to your message.
Where do you get your images? Do you have any tips on this topic that would be helpful to the rest of us?